Unveiling his state budget for the 2019 fiscal year Tuesday afternoon in Albany, Governor Andrew Cuomo took a strong stand against substance abuse, blaming drug manufacturers for the opioid epidemic and allocating millions in funding to the state’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.
Hoping to help ease New Yorkers’ financial burdens, Cuomo pledged to find ways to create additional opportunities to fund much needed state programs including those that address the ever-growing use of opioids.
“Opioid manufacturers have created an epidemic,” said Cuomo as he announced an opioid surcharge of two cents per milligram to be paid by drug manufacturers, which is expected to raise $170 million and would be used to offset the costs of state funded opioid treatment programs.
Cuomo said that he is hopeful that the surcharge will create a shift away from opioids within the medical community.
“There are other medicines that they can prescribe besides opioids and to the extent they do, it’s a good thing,” said Cuomo.
The governor also announced a $26 million increase in operating and capital support for the OASAS which would be used to expand both residential and outpatient treatment programs.
Rabbi Zvi Gluck, director of Amudim and a member of the New York State Suicide Prevention Task Force, praised the governor for making opioid abuse a high priority in his latest budget.
“We have seen time and time again how opioid use leads to suicide and with 370 young lives lost in the Jewish community over the past two years it is painfully clear that this problem is getting worse, not better,” said Gluck. “While it has been an uphill battle getting the world to wake up and realize how severe this is, it is a breath of fresh air to see Governor Cuomo joining us on the front lines, fighting this epidemic that is destroying families and entire communities.”